Wetter summers on the way in the UK?

  • High pressure weather systems over Greenland. Credit: University of Plymouth/Helen Nance/Len Wood.

    A good example of a blocking high pressure over Greenland, giving cold and wet weather to the UK. Credit: Wetterzentrale.

    5 year moving average to monthly averaged anomalies in the England and Wales Precipitation series (EWP). The table show a curious pattern for rainfall in the 1970s and wetter summers and drier springs over the last 7 years. Credit: Meteogroup

  • Wetter summers on the way in the UK?
    30.04.2016 15:47

    A new research carried out by the University of Sheffield and published in the International Journal of Climatology has found a link between the warming in western Greenland and the wet summers across the UK in 2007 and 2012.

    The study analysed changes in weather systems over Greenland since 1851 using a measure called Greenland Blocking Index (GBI). According to the researchers, stationary high pressure systems are more likely to form near Greenland. This has been happening more frequently since the 1980s in all seasons.

    These blocking systems are increasing in all seasons but especially in summer, bringing about two consequences so far:

    -          Warmer air moved in from the south into west Greenland in recent years, causing the decline of the Arctic sea ice.

    -          Changes in the movement of the Jet Stream, meandering further north.

    These changes have been linked to the unusual wet weather that the UK saw in 2007, 2012 and probably 2015. Moreover, the research points to an increasing destabilisation of atmospheric weather systems in late autumn and early winter. This could be related to strong declines in sea-ice coverage in the Arctic region.

    Greenland is one the regions of the world warming more rapidly with the combination of global warming and blocking systems that drag warmer air in and also allows longer periods of sunshine.  This may give the so-called feedback effect, meaning  that climate change brings further climate change. Having this in mind, the UK may become wetter in summer as Greenland becomes warmer.

    Looking into the England and Wales Precipitation series (EWP), there was a curious pattern through the 1970s with dry winters from 1971 to 1977, then springs from 1974 to 1978 and then summers from 1976 to 1980. The research by the University of Sheffield along with the EWP is consistent with the recent trend for wetter summers over the last 5-7years for England and Wales.  However, it is too early to assess what is going to occur this summer. If you want to keep update for the perspectives for this season, please, keep an eye into this website.

    By: Mario Cuellar